Maybe it’s a smear of something from work that’s making your clothes stink. Or maybe you fell into a ditch and don’t know what on earth got onto your clothes. Some things are unavoidable. The thing is, some smells are strong and tough to remove, especially if your clothes are exposed to them for some time. For instance, you’ll need a few tricks up your sleeves to get rid of the cannabis smell. The smell of decomposition can be just as bad.
That said, there are plenty of ways to eliminate stinky smells from clothes. First, you’ll need to figure out what is causing the awful smell to make removing it easier. Let’s look at some of the strong smells and what you can do about them.
1. Sweat Smell
The smell of sweat is normal. You sweat all day, and once you take off your tops and dresses, you’ll notice unpleasant odors, especially in the armpits. While the smell of sweat isn’t usually that bad, just unpleasant and easy to remove, there are times when it can be pretty strong and lingering. Working out, certain foods and drinks, and medications can affect the intensity of sweat smell.
Keep in mind that it’s the bacteria on your skin that breaks down sweat producing an unpleasant smell. If you’re not cleaning your clothes properly, bacteria buildup will make them smell worse. To remove sweat odors, even the most intense ones, you need a strong fabric detergent and distilled white vinegar. Add vinegar to your wash water to kill the smell and give your detergent a boost. You may also use baking soda in place of white vinegar. It’s just as effective when it comes to removing tough odors.
2. Mildew Smell
If you’re wondering why your clothes smell musty even after washing them, chances are they are breeding grounds for mildew. Mildew is a fungus that can attach to clothes placed where the fungus is thriving, usually warm and damp places like your washing machine. You may find that the fungal smell is pretty resistant to detergents. If the item can be washed with bleach, dilute some into your detergent, and wash at a high temperature. If you can’t use bleach on the fabric, use a strong detergent and wash at the highest temperature setting the item can handle. Sunlight is perfect for removing fungus, so you may want to hang your garments on a clothesline. The solution to your mildew problem, however, is to carry out maintenance wash often to keep your washer free from fungal infestation.
3. Residual Smoke Odor
The smell of smoke on your clothing can be quite repulsive, whether caught on from burning trash, smoking weed, or cooking all day. Smoke smell may seem like it’s completely soaked into the fabric. It is, but getting rid of the smoke smell isn’t challenging if you take the right steps. If the odor is too strong, add baking soda to the washer or bowl and presoak the garment for a few hours. When you’re ready to wash, drain the water and wash using your usual detergent alongside a laundry booster. It’d be best to hang dry the garment to let sunlight and air reach every part of the fabric.
4. The Smell of Decay
The smell of decay is probably the worst there is, especially if your garment has come into contact with decomposition fluids. While the smell of rot is super stinky, it can be removed. If the smell is pretty strong, forget removing it in one wash or one day, for that matter. You’ll need to soak the garment overnight in a bowl of water mixed with household ammonia. It wouldn’t be a good idea to soak the garment in the washing machine as the smell may permeate your washer. Wash the garment with heavy-duty detergent and add distilled white vinegar in the final cycle. Clothes affected by the smell of rot are best hung outside on the clothesline to dry. The elements will beat through the fabric, removing any lingering odor.
Most of the time, eliminating stinky smells from your clothes can be easily done using vinegar or baking soda as part of your wash cycle. However, that’s not always the case when it comes to powerful odors. Try our tips the next time you battle harsh smells.